Do you know what it takes to be a boxing champion? It’s the ability to take a punch and withstand it. Are you still deciding to step in the ring without strengthening your neck? Might as well kiss your boxing career goodbye!
The neck exercises are undeniably the most ignored area in strength training, like the middle child of a family. Considering it holds that big brain of yours, it does need some focus. Many athletes acknowledge the importance of training the neck muscles but prioritize other areas more.
Why You Need A Stronger Neck?
Your head and brain get all their support from the neck; the whole system of nerves passes through your neck. For the brain to properly communicate with the rest of the body, a faultless system of nerves is required.
If the neck has a problem, it can adversely affect the way your brain controls the body!
A part of the spinal cord passes through your neck. As the whole system is interconnected, if one part's alignment is off, the entire system tries to compensate for it. This means that the neck region directly affects your posture, a perfect neck alignment for perfect lumbar alignment!
Plus, over the years, the problems of neck and back pains have increased drastically. A stronger neck helps relieve the pain and reduces the chances of injuries borne through it.
Why Boxing Requires A Strong Neck
A strong neck is a real deal in the boxing ring. It helps absorb the blows' shock to the face and allows you to react faster—the faster head movements enabled by a strong neck aid you in successfully dodging blows and handling them.
Like other muscles, if this part's muscles are strengthened, they will endure more; make sure your posture is correct, and you won't tire out that easy. This is particularly important for boxers, as once fatigue sets in, it's game over!
Is Boxing Bad For Your Neck?
Though training your neck is required for boxing, this doesn't imply boxing in itself is harmful to it.
All the punches and hits thrown by boxers help keep your spine flexible. This helps with maintaining a proper posture. As the neck plays a big part in keeping your spine aligned correctly, boxing, in turn, is not bad for it!
Mike Tyson's Famous Neck Bridges
The legend Mike Tyson is rightfully known for having a 'tree-trunk neck' at the ripe age of 18. His training routine is enough to make the weak-hearted faint. The one strengthening exercise he absolutely claimed was the Neck Bridges!
What Are Neck Bridges And Are They Safe?
This exercise engages these muscles: neck, abs, and hip flexors. To perform the bridge, you have to lie on the ground, with your knees bent, and raise yourself onto your neck. Lift your hips up and balance your weight on your neck and heels. Hold this position for a few seconds.
Get back into the starting position and repeat. Once you are comfortable, you can integrate tiny circles to engage more muscles, or roll your head backward.
Yes, they are safe, but you are advised not to push beyond your limits with this one unless you are confident about your necks' strength. Start with the basic neck exercises and incorporate the rolls and circles once you level up for better muscle integration.
7 Ways To Strengthen Your Neck
Below is a list of neck exercises for boxing that will help you with neck strengthening and allow you to take blows without falling down!
1. Headstand and how to do it?
The headstand is a widely acclaimed posed, usually performed by yoga practitioners and gymnasts. To perform a headstand, put a pillow against a wall/door. Kneel down on the floor, place your fingers together, and put them on the pillow. Rest the back of your head in the cup you created with your palms.
Lift your knees upwards and bring your feet forward. Bring your knees into your chest and extend your legs straight up. The wall/door will provide your back and legs support to keep you from falling.
2. Resistance Exercises and what are they?
You will use your hands to provide resistance. Place both your hands behind you and look straight ahead. Keeping your hands in position, push your head back against the resistance provided by them. You can perform this technique with your left and right neck motions as well!
Once you have mastered these neck exercises with resistance, then you can move to exercises with weights.
3. Towel Exercises
You will use a towel to provide resistance. Place the towel on the nape of your neck, both ends hanging free on the front. Grab both sides firmly and lower your chin so that it touches your chest. Slowly, tilt your head upwards and backward against the resistance created by your grip on the towel. Repeat this process.
4. Towel in the Mouth
One of the easiest neck exercises is a "Towel in the Mouth." For this exercise, you will tie one end of a towel around the weight and hold the other side in your mouth. Sit down and hold one end of the towel in your mouth. Slowly, bring your chin downward and then lift your head upward and backward to strengthen your neck muscles.
5. Neck Harness
Prepare a neck harness with light weights for this neck training. It allows you to lift weights with your neck. A chain and carabiner are used to secure weights to it. The head and chin straps will enable you to secure your head's structure and lift the weight.
The neck harness allows you to add neck strengthening exercises to your workout. To strengthen your neck's back, lie face down on a bench, with the weights free in the air. Slowly, lift your head upwards and then lower it back. You can perform this exercise either lying down on a bench or standing up.
To strengthen your neck's front, lie facing upwards on the bench, with the weight hanging down. Gradually lift your head, hold it for a moment, and then bring it back down.
6. Neck Plate Curls
Use a small weight that you can hold against the back of your head without discomfort.
Lay face down on a bench with your head hanging over the edge. Take a small weight and hold it on the back of your head. Use both of your hands to keep the weight in position. Slowly tilt your head upwards, hold it for a moment, and then lower it. Repeat the process.
7. Dumbbell Shrugs
The dumbbell shrugs target your neck muscles, the upper back, and shoulders. Make sure to stand straight with your feet planted shoulder-width apart. Take a dumbbell in each hand and keep them at your sides. Raise your shoulders as high as possible and then lower them down to perform a shrug.
How Often Should You Train Your Neck?
The process of strength and weight training involves breaking down the muscles and getting them to rebuild themselves stronger. If you overwork a muscle group, you weaken it as there isn't enough time for the muscles to regenerate.
Training your neck muscles 2 to 3 times a week is enough for boxers to strengthen it and get the muscle gains! Make sure to rest your muscles after a session of neck exercises to let them regenerate and be better than ever.
However, if you are confident of your necks' strength and want some serious muscle gains, you can go 5 times a week even!
What a better way to end this than quoting Rocky Balboa when he said, “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” This applies to both boxing and real life!